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2011 Vol.3
Give Capitalism a Chance


Major earthquake disasters have had a strong relationship with the mending of society since ancient times. Major earthquakes shake the ground, where the spirits of ancestors and vengeful spirits rest, and cause tsunamis or volcanic eruptions that completely destroy people’s lives. Major earthquakes, as natural events that have made people realize impasses reached by the country’s rulers and their governance, have been considered to send a signal (Providence) that induces revolution.
Taking as examples the Jogan, Hoei, and Ansei earthquakes, this paper examines the role of such views and people’s understanding of the world, referring to Saiichi Maruya’s Chushingura Towa Nanika (What is Chushingura?). In addition, this paper discusses the fact that people today also have a latent ability to sense such a causal relationship, referring to Haruki Murakami’s short story Kaeru-Kun Tokyo Wo Sukuu (Mr. Frog Saves Tokyo).
As examples for the modern era, similarities of the Great Kanto Earthquake to the Great Hanshin Earthquake and the Great East Japan Earthquake are considered. In particular, this paper discusses the following issues: that the Great Kanto Earthquake occurred when the world order was being restructured after the Russian Revolution and World War I; that, with a bubble resulting from wartime economic expansion and increased gaps among social classes caused by its burst, the social background at the time of the earthquake highly resembled that of the Great Hanshin Earthquake and the Great East Japan Earthquake; and that people back then desperately wanted to defeat the ruling class and support constitutional government. This shows that after each of the three earthquake disasters people had a common wish to break away from bureaucratic control.
Furthermore, considering a concept advocated by Kojin Karatani-a triune system of capital, “nation”, and the state-in connection with the people’s wish for change in the current (capitalist) system, this paper argues that the wish came to involve the state after the Great Kanto Earthquake and suggests that given today’s “imperialistic” reality, in which a solidarity movement can spring up among global citizens, the future rests on capitalism-oriented actions to take over and “tame” the triune system.